I went out today to go for a walk. Friends, the lockdown is fucking real and it is in Guangdong now.
My building opens on one side into the urban village (no cars, tight alleys, street vendors, cheap housing) and the other side onto a road. It doesn't any more. Every doorway and alley that leads into the village has been blocked off. There are only two ways in, and they are manned by cops taking mandatory temperature checks and scanning ID cards to make sure you are a registered resident.
This is going to fuck so many Spring Festival returnees in the ass, because millions of migrant workers are not registered residents of Shenzhen. It may also fuck me in the ass because my local supermarket and wet market are in the village, as is every single restaurant and street vendor i eat at. I blagged my way in this time to buy a bubble tea, but i don't know if i will be so lucky next time.
It's not just my village. Biking home from the mountain i saw that these roadblocks and checkpoints have been established around every urban village. It makes me want to vomit because the only reason Shenzhen doesn't suck is the urban villages. Outside the urban villages it's just gated communities and shopping malls. Now my village is a fucking gated community too.
I complained to the concierge in my building and she said there's nothing they can do, this is the new regulation. They also have to check the temperature of everyone coming into the building, even if you live there. Every pharmacy is still sold out of facemasks, so i asked where i can get them. She gave me a disposable one so at least next time i try to go shopping i will look the part with the performative bullshit.
For fuck's sake.
Here is a picture of me on a mountain.
Apparently this all went into place on February 1. On Friday (Jan 31) i had a Skype date with my friend R to get drunk and commiserate Brexit. Well for me it was commiserating Brexit, she's Canadian so for her it was just an excuse to catch up and drink.
I got really fucking drunk. I took her outside on my phone and walked through the village at about 3:30am to buy more booze. I remarked at the fact that absolutely nothing at all was open. Which, i mean, sure it's 3:30am, but even still usually there are some 24 hour convenience stores open and occasionally there are some ambitious street vendors hoping to entice drunken people coming home from the KTV (karaoke). But i guess nobody is going to KTV now.
Well that's the last time i'll be able to go into my village from the building for a while, by the looks of it. I have no idea where i will be able to get food. I hope that i will still be able to blag my way in, just for the supermarket if nothing else.
Still, the thought of having my ID checked and temperature scanned every time i go shopping and every time i come home is so depressing.
I specifically chose to live in a 公寓 (apartment) instead of a 小区 (gated community) because i hate everything about gated communities. I hate locked doors and being forced to scan a keycard or go through security to get into my own house. It makes me sick with anxiety. I feel like i'm in prison. I find those sorts of places so destructive to the wider community.
In 城中村 - urban villages - there are lots of barely-legal tenements dripping water into alleys that never see the sun, there are rats and cockroaches, but at least there is an open community. Anyone can come and go as they please. People who come to the city with dreams of a better life, this is where they find lodging. People hang out in the village square, chatting and playing cards, mah-jongg, pool... Kids sit on stools clustered around a TV watching slapstick kung-fu movies. Vendors sell fried chicken. I nibble a spiral cut pineapple on a stick.
When will our community be back?